New Delhi: A one-man panel inquiry into a massive telecom scandal in awarding 2G licences has found many procedural lapses, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said on Friday.
Sibal said all policy implementation since 2003 were against the cabinet decision of October 2003, according to a report by Shivaraj Patil, former Supreme Court judge probing into 2G spectrum scandal.
The NDA government operated contrary to the decision of its own cabinet decision. They will have to answer a number of questions in the next few days. “The ones who are accusing now are the ones who are at fault,” Sibal said.
There are also questions as to why the bureaucracy helped.
Cabinet decision in question relates to the fact that all firms wishing to start telecom services would have to participate in multi stage bidding.
Spectrum should never have been bundled with the licence and operators should have paid for spectrum as well as additional spectrum.
The wrongdoing extends to policies including the allocation of the 4th licence, FCFS (first come first served) among others.
Sibal said the probe found that procedures followed by the previous government since 2001 were “unfair and unreasonable”.
“Whatever was followed previously was followed even today, it was wrong previously, it is wrong even now,” Sibal said. He said the findings will be handed over to the CBI which is already probing the scam and has arrested former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja and other former officials.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has been bogged down fighting a slew of corruption cases, including a $39 billion potential loss in revenue to the state when 2G licences were given away cheaply to private firms in 2008.
The row has virtually stalled legislative policymaking in Asia’s third-largest economy with the Opposition stalling Parliament on the demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe into the scandal.
Separately, investigators for the first time on Thursday alleged two Indian companies, that are now partly owned by Norway’s Telenor and Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat, were given unfair advantage for telecom licence allocation in 2008.
The telecom ministry has asked five firms, including local units of Telenor and Etisalat, to defend 85 telecom licences held by them after a state auditor CAG said these companies suppressed facts and submitted false documents to obtain the licences.
Sibal, however, refused to name officials as ”they have not had a chance to reply to the accusations,